Craft Certification Scheme

The DSWA Craft Certification Scheme is a globally recognised standard for dry stone walling. The scheme demands candidates to achieve the highest standards, testing their skills and proficiency against stringent marking criteria.

The scheme is accredited by awarding body Lantra and recognised by Ofqual for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.

The certification scheme is open to all candidates.

Level 1

The Level 1 qualification is designed for those just starting out on their dry stone walling journey.

Candidates have to strip down and rebuild a straight-forward free-standing section of wall totalling 2.5 square metres and not less than one metre in height below the copes.

The standard places emphasis on sound and solid construction rather than finished quality.

We advise that people start with the Level 1 qualification.


Level 2

The Level 2 qualification is the level required for candidates to register as a Professional Dry Stone Waller with the DSWA.

Each candidate needs to strip down and rebuild a section of wall totalling 2.5 square metres and not less than one metres below the copes. The wall must incorporate a vertical cheekend.

This Level has high mark requirements for technical elements such as straightness of line and batter as well as the construction of the cheekend.

Candidates should have been dry stone walling for at least 12 months before taking the Level 2 qualification.

Level 3

The Level 3 qualification is aimed at Professional dry stone wallers.

It looks for a higher level of quality craftsmanship, including the construction of features, retaining walls etc.

Candidates must hold their Level 2 qualification before attempting their Level 3.

The Level 3 comes in two parts of features and a timed test element.

Master Craftsman

The Master Craftsman is the elite qualification for Professional dry stone wallers.

Coming in two parts, this qualification demands the highest of standards from candidates.

Part A focuses on the building of two features including the mandatory element of 5 square metres of wall on sloping ground of at least 30 degrees.

Three features must be built with one being chosen to be undertaken as a timed test element.

Details of the features which can be chosen can be found in the Craft Certification booklet.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, attendance on a DSWA course prior to assessment is not mandatory. However, each Level of assessment does carry a minimum advised number of hours practice before undertaking. Candidates should have read the Craft Certification Scheme booklet and be confident that they can fulfil the marking criteria. If you are looking at booking a standalone assessment contact the Training & Education Coordinator for availability.

Yes. Professional dry stone wallers and those with sufficient experience can come in at Level 2. We advise that those doing so thoroughly read the Craft Certification Scheme booklet to understand the mark scheme and have also undertaken at least 12 months of full time dry stone walling.

In the unfortunate circumstance that you fail an assessment we advise that you seek more practice and don’t retake the assessment for 3 months during which time you should seek further practical experience.

An appeals process is in place if you would like to appeal an Assessors decision. Appeals must be made in writing to the Training & Education Coordinator within ten working days of the assessment. Full details of the reason for the appeal should be given.

Yes, for Levels 1 through to Level 3 you will receive a DSWA and Lantra Qualification.

Yes. However, marking features away from a DSWA site will result in a higher cost for marking. For an accurate cost you need to contact the Training & Education Coordinator with the exact location of your features.